Hines Pulls No Punches

By John Harris
Updated: December 2, 2010

PITTSBURGH — Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward is the latest Steeler to express his unhappiness with the NFL’s treatment of star linebacker James Harrison.

During his locker room criticism Wednesday that lasted more than a minute, Ward said the league’s decision-makers are “hypocrites.”

“Say one thing, and do another,” Ward said. “Talk about safety, but you add two games. Talk about you don’t want players to drink, but our major endorsement is Coors Light. That’s all you see is beer commercials.”

Responding to Harrison’s $25,000 fine for a helmet to helmet hit against Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — bringing Harrison’s fines total to a whopping $125,000 as a result of four infractions this season — Ward described the league as only worrying about making money and not caring about the welfare of its players.

“The league don’t care about us anyway. We just go out there and play,” Ward said. “If they want to take our money, it’s almost like you’re guilty ’til proven innocent. They take your money, then you’ve got to appeal it.”

Harrison appealed his first three fines; all three were rejected by the league. Agent Bill Parise said Harrison will appeal his latest fine as well.

Ward’s response to Harrison: Why bother?

“I’ve never seen an appeal … somebody gets all their money back …

It’s just a waste,” Ward said. “Why even appeal it if you’re not going to get it back?

“That’s the case with James. He’s going to continue playing, and if they keep taking his money, we’ve got to find a way, if we can do a couple of autograph signings in the offseason, to make that money back.”

Ward said the league sends mixed messages to players.

“If they’re so concerned about safety, why are you adding two more games? That right there tells it all. They don’t care about the safety of the game,” Ward said.

“If they’re worried about concussions … mandate each player has a new helmet. They don’t do that. They collect money from every helmet (company) that pays them enough money to get their helmets on the field.

Now they have three different helmets, and none of them (are) proven that they work.

“You say you don’t want us to gamble, but you have (point) spreads.

For us, as players, we just play football. Whatever the league decides to do, they’re gonna do.”